Archives: “Thirty-Seven Days of Peril,” 1871 (by Truman Everts)

I would think of home–of my daughter–and of the possible chance of starvation, or death in some more terrible form; but as often as these gloomy forebodings came, I would strive to banish them with reflections better adapted to my immediate necessities.  I recollect at this time discussing the question, whether there was not implanted by Providence in every man a principle of self-preservation equal to any emergency which did not destroy his reason.  I decided this question affirmatively a thousand times afterwards in my wanderings, and I record this experience here, that any person who reads it, should he ever find himself in like circumstances, may not despair.

- Truman Everts, 1871

A member of the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition to the future site of Yellowstone National Park in 1870, Truman Everts got separated from the main group in early Winter and became lost for 37 days in the wilderness.  His harrowing tale of hardship and survival is told in a Scribner’s Monthly article (PDF) appearing in 1871, and in the PBS special “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” by Ken Burns.

Download article (PDF): “Thirty-Seven Days of Peril” (by Truman Everts). Courtesy of Cornell University Library, Making of America Digital Collection.

View PBS video segement on-line: “Truman Everts’ Hellish Journey” (The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, Episode One, 1851-1890, by Ken Burns).

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